A popular night spot in Omaha is getting almost too popular. While downtown Benson is flourishing, parking in the area can be scarce at peak times. But Omaha city leaders have a plan to help.
Benson has become one of Omaha's premier night spots. Nearly every store front is filled along Maple street in downtown Benson. And many of those businesses are bars and restaurants. But where do you put all those cars that show up on Friday and Saturday nights?
“We think the limited parking is probably a good problem to have,” says Kurt Goetzinger with the Benson Business Association. “Because more people are coming to Benson than we've seen in years.”
While parallel spots on Maple Street fill up quickly, parking spills over into nearby neighborhoods, making things difficult for those who live nearby.
Jodi Jorgensen lives in a house down the street from downtown Benson.
“If i want to have friends or family over there's no place in the street for them to park on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night,” said Jorgensen. “It's usually pretty dang busy in Benson. And this street is hopping.”
Some bar patrons have even been towed from private lots in recent weeks. But the city and the Benson business leaders are hoping to make some changes in the area that will create more parking spaces for everyone.
City Councilman Pete Festersen says, “We'll come out and re-stripe all of Maple Street and some of the additional side streets there to make parking much more efficient in the business district and add those opportunities for the public. And we're also working with the business improvement district to identify some additional lots we could lease for public parking in the area.”
Currently parallel parking is allowed on Maple Street, but no parking stalls are marked. So Festersen says re-striping will help allow more cars to park along the street. Re-striping will begin as soon as weather allows.
Festersen also says the city is looking at about three or four lots around the area that the city could lease to provide even more public parking.